Thursday, November 12, 2015

It hit when I least expected it.  Last Saturday afternoon I started to cough a little more and then before I knew it I was into a full fledged chest cold.  This is a little unusual for me.  I usually get head colds - you know those messy waste baskets filled with used tissues days.  But this hit me right in the throat and chest.  I am on day 5 without a voice.

I wasn't ready for this yet.

Sometime each fall I realize that cold and flu season is upon us and I check to make sure that we have medicine ready so that if one (or both) of us gets sick that we have supplies.  I had not gotten to that point yet this fall.  So, there was a quick trip to get some Mucinex and throat lozenges.

Back when Silent Sam was diagnosed with diabetes, we were told that we should be prepared for when colds and the flu will strike so that we have supplies on hand. 

Just like everyone else who read or saw that instruction, we did not prepare. Although, I will admit that I do go through the over the counter medicine drawer (yes, we have it in a drawer) to check for expiration dates and see what supplies we need a couple times a year. And this is definitely that time of year. I have only done this for the last couple of years and it is not foolproof but it has helped. There is just something about feeling sick and going to the drawer and finding either nothing in there or finding out of date medicine. 

Don't wait until it is too late.  Take a few minutes to check your stock of over the counter medicines to see if you are prepared.If you have not discussed with your doctor what over the counter medicines you should use, then now is the time to ask. People with diabetes need to be careful about the ingredients in their over the counter medicines.  It is far better to ask than to find out that your blood sugar is spiking because of your cold medicine.  Your levels will be affected when you are sick and you don’t want to add to the problem with the medicines that you are taking. 

You might want to check your kitchen cabinets also. Are you prepared with food for when you are sick?  One of the hazards is dehydration. Make sure you have fluids that you will drink to help keep you from getting dehydrated. Soups are good but they also can be a source of lots of sodium.  Check those labels and select soups that the sodium levels are not as high. Once again, talk to your doctor and/or dietitian for their recommendations.   

I suggest that while you are getting out the sweaters and turning up the heat, you take a few minutes to make sure you are ready with a plan for if you get sick. You will appreciate your efforts if you wake up feeling awful one morning. 

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Sometimes there are issues that are so well explained by others that I don't think I should mess with their message.

So this week, I urge you to check out Karen Graffeo's blog, Bitter~Sweet  about urging Congress to approve GCM's for Medicare patients.

You can also check out the message from JDRF. (Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund)

Thanks for reading this message.  I urge you to contact your Congressional representative and tell them that this is an important issue and changes should be made.

Friday, October 30, 2015

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Are you wondering if that makes any difference to you? Well, probably not. (Honest, right?)

I am so bored with my recipes. Not only that, since Silent Sam is living by his job during the week that means I am cooking for myself. That is not easy. I suppose if you cook for one all the time, you get better at it. I find that since I work from home that I have a tendency to have my bigger meal at noon. I am not as tired then and it is easier. But even those meals are not anything to write home about. And sometimes I find that the dinner I have is not very healthy.

(In case you have missed this in the past, I am not much of a cook. I don’t care that much. )

So where to get new recipes? The ADA website is a good source. On their site, you can sign up for free recipes and meal plans. You can also sign up for a free 12 month program that includes recipes and 6 months of their magazine. There is also the recipe section of the site. With the holidays coming, you might appreciate the holiday meal planning section.

My favorite recipe book

I often use Pinterest for recipes. If you use the search term “diabetes recipes” you will see an amazing array of recipes come up. There are also some other search terms that they suggest like “easy” (that’s my kind!), “crockpot”, and “Type 2”. As with all things you find on the internet, please think about what you are reading and if it sounds too good to be true, check it and make sure it is true. When you look something up on the internet and it is contrary to something that your diabetes team has told you, listen to your team first and foremost. You can always ask at your next visit. 

Do you have recipes that you think would be good for you but you aren’t sure? There are several web sites that you can use to evaluate the nutritional facts and calorie count for a recipe. I have used one called Calorie Count before but if you use the search term “recipe nutrition calculator”, you will find several different calculators and you can find the best one for you.

My other suggestion is to buy a binder and those dividers that they make for binders. When you try a new recipe, put a copy of the recipe in the binder. This has really helped me over the last few years. I find that I forget about recipes that we like and will find them in the binder.  Also when making out our grocery list, it really helps to have the recipes all in one place. 

I hope you have a great week! Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Taking a New Way

                                                                                         Photo by Radion Kutsaev

I have a confession to make. I collect quotes. I have a subscription that sends me daily quotes and if I like the quote, I print it and glue it in a  little book. I would like to say that they are all by famous people that inspire me. I do not know the person quoted most of the time; nor do I know the context for the quote. The words speak to me so I keep a copy.

I did not immediately recognize the name Misty Copeland. Thanks to the internet, it takes just a second to find out who she is and why she would be quoted. Misty Copeland is the first African American female dancer with the American Ballet Theatre. If you would like to know more about her, you can see an interview from CBS Sunday Morning. I had seen another interview with her and she has quite an interesting story.

But the point of me sharing this quote with you today is that I think sometimes we box ourselves in to thinking that we have to do something a certain way to get to a goal. Using myself as an example, I had success using walking as exercise. Yes, it was combined with an eating program but I enjoyed walking. I had a path by a lake and I would see lots of different people and enjoy the fresh air. Unfortunately, my knees have betrayed me and taking long walks are not possible for me right now. I do like to swim but it is can be an expensive form of exercise and there is something about going to a pool and changing in a drafty changing room in the winter.

So, since I can’t walk as I did, I have found lots of excuses not to exercise.

The path to your success is not as fixed and inflexible as you think

You can probably guess what the upshot of this is – I have gained weight. I find it very easy to get up in the morning and come in my office and work all day. Before Sadie the rescue dog came into the house, I didn’t even get up and just walk around as much as I should. Now, I have a little face that comes in and bothers me to get up and take her outside. As much as the interruption sometimes drives me nuts I know it has been a good thing.

The problem is also that I let myself stop because I could not do one form of exercise. It was as if that was my only choice and since I could not do that, I could not do anything. I have been so busy looking at what I can’t do, that I am not looking for what I can do. What can I do? I can ride a stationary bike. I can do exercises that strengthen my legs (which helps my knees) and I can work on upper body strength (of which I have none.)  There are classes that I can take that I might even enjoy if I tried them.

How about you? Are you stuck on thinking that you have to do something one way but yet you can’t? Is it time for you to think about how you are going to change and accomplish your goal by taking a different path? Here is a suggestion. Go outside with a pad of paper and a pen. Look at the sky, the clouds, trees, and the roofs around you. Just look for a few minutes. Then think about your obstacle. Think about what changes you can make to get around it. Write them down. Let your mind go and write down silly nonsensical ways around it. The sillier the ideas the better. Laugh while you are writing. Write down 5 -10 ways around your problem. Then stop. Look at the sky again and think about that color blue and wonder how many types of birds live in your neighborhood. Think about your best experience outside and smile at the thought. Then revisit your list. I think you might find an idea of how to reach your goal in those silly (and not so silly) ideas. Take that idea and start to incorporate it slowly into your life. If you find it doesn’t work out, what have you lost? Not much. Try the exercise again. Or you might find that you wake up some morning with the answer. You just need to seriously pose the question to yourself and let you mind have a chance to work on the answer without you trying so hard.  

Sorry, I need to go there is a little face that wants some fresh air.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, October 2, 2015

How Our New Dog is Like Diabetes

I am going to try it again this week. I am going to write about things totally unrelated to diabetes and see if I can make them be about diabetes.

Because in reality, all roads lead to diabetes. (If you let them and if you have a bit of an imagination.)

Two months ago, not knowing that our life was going to change again, we adopted a rescue dog. Of course it is not quite that simple because we are not doing “simple” right now.

I think German Shepherds are beautiful dogs. I have always wanted to get one. This was going to be my chance. So I filled out the application for a German Shepherd rescue organization and crossed my fingers. When you are filling out the application, you tell them about traits that you want in the dog. Due to our experiences with the last two dogs we adopted, we had some requests.

(We had a wonderful dog that was great with people. She was sweet and lovely. Until another dog came anywhere near her. She then looked like a killing machine. It was very surprising at first and then a bit scary. We always had to be careful. Dog obedience classes did not work out well.

This is Kirby - loved dogs not so much children
The next dog loved being around other dogs. He would cry if he could not go play with them. Of course after the time he urinated on the head of a small dog, we had to be a little careful with him. His problem was that he did not like children or teenage girls. Since we had a teenage girl when we adopted him, there was some tension but she grew up and it all worked out.)

As a result of these experiences, we wanted a dog that was good with dogs and children. We have small children next door and we wanted them to be able to play with the dog and not have to worry.
We sent off the application and within a week or so we got a call. They were going to bring over a 4 year old male dog that they thought would be perfect. I did ask several times about the dog getting along with children and stressed that it was important. I thought that the answers were a bit vague but I didn’t push it more.

And then the dog arrived. He was a big shepherd and was full of energy. We decided that we would foster the dog for a few weeks to make sure it was going to work out. It seems that the dog had been found roaming the streets and had been picked up by the rescue organization. The dog fell in love with Silent Sam. Not just really liked him but was mesmerized by him. He could not exist with being able to see him. To the point that the dog found a way to break out the back door of the house when Silent Sam went out to run some errands. It was a bit over the top. Then our son came home and the dog felt that he needed to attack the stranger in the house. It was not a pretty scene. Our neighbors were not very happy either. They were sure the dog could jump the fence and attack their children.

This is how the Shepherd looked to our son. 

So, after 48 hours we called because the dog had to go. The rescue people were very nice about it and suggested that perhaps we had too many people coming to our house to be a good choice for a shepherd.

This experience took the wind out of our sails for a few weeks. In giving it some thought, it seemed to me that perhaps a Labrador Retriever was a better idea for us. Before we adopted our last dog, I had applied to a Labrador rescue organization and had discovered that they had a long waiting list. Since I was not exactly in a hurry, I filled out an application for the lab rescue.

I got a message from them within an hour. No kidding, an hour. They had a dog that they were bringing up from Texas (??!) and would like to bring her over the next day so that they could do a home inspection and perhaps we would want to keep the dog.

Ah… okay?  Once again, I was assured she was good with kids and dogs.

When I opened the door the next afternoon, I had one and only one reaction. “She is kinda small, isn’t she?” We have always had big dogs and here was this dog that was certainly not the size of any lab that I had ever seen. She did seem very sweet and went right up to the little girl next door. We decided to foster Sadie for two weeks.

Well, since I started by saying that we have had a dog for two months, you might conclude that we still have Sadie. We do. The day after she arrived, the rescue people called to say that Sadie had heart worm and hook worms and would need medicine and an overnight vet visit. We made it through the month of meds.

As with all rescues, she has a few quirks. She is slowly getting better. We actually call her scared Sadie most of the time. She was scared of everything and spent most of her time with her tail tucked so far under her that you would not have known she had a tail. She now has her tail up and wagging most of the time. She still will not go outside by herself and will get scared when the children next door make a lot of noise around her. She would not even take a treat from me for the first six weeks. She now has no trouble taking treats. 

We have not been able to cure her of going on the furniture but most of the time she does not do it when we are looking. She is in dog obedience classes. She was the belle of the first class because she was so obviously scared that everyone thought she was adorable.

She did not bark for the first six weeks she was here. Now she will usually bark when the mailman comes and yesterday she did try and protect me from the heating technician. It might have been a bit more believable if she had gotten within 5 feet of the guy but she had good intentions.

Are you wondering how I can relate this long dog story to diabetes?

Like Sadie, diabetes is pretty scary when you are first diagnosed. It takes time to get it sorted out and find your way to a new normal but soon you will adjust to a new way.

There is a nose nudging me to say it is time to go outside. Unfortunately together. I have to get this solved by winter….

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

What to Write - Ups and Downs

I know you might find this hard to believe but my diabetes “well” is a bit dry at the moment. There is a lot going on around here.

Silent Sam lost his job right before Christmas because the company he worked for closed. This was a ten days after our son got married and two weeks before my Dad died. Those three events happening so close together were like having the sand wash out from under your feet. It has taken me a  few minutes to regain my balance.

 Silent Sam was a company guy. He had worked for the same company for 35 years. He worked long hours and would go the extra mile.

 And then suddenly he was home.

Let’s just say that it was an adjustment for both of us.

He was not used to working from home and missed the day to day interaction with people and deadlines. I was used to being alone in the house and working at my own pace. (I have worked from home for a long time and would never want to work any other way.) 

We did find a new routine and got used to being together a lot more than usual. It did help that his office is upstairs and mine is on the first floor. We could go to our separate corners during the day. 

And then it changed again. 

Silent Sam found a job. He has been working for about a month. He is very happy. The people he works with like the company and the mood in the office is much better than it had been with his previous company.

So, we went from him working long hours to him being home all the time to him going back to work – in a different city.

So we are now a commuter marriage. Silent Sam moved into his own apartment in the other city last weekend and we will be together on weekends.

Change does not blow in on a soft breeze here. It seems to be more of a tropical storm. I know it will be fine but it is the day to day that will be the hardest to get through. So, in a way, it is like diabetes. If you are on the right track, your long term prognosis can be great if you keep working on it but it is the day to day that can wear you down.

See, I found a way to talk about diabetes.

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 27, 2015


"Change your thoughts and you’ll change your world"

 – Norman Vincent Peale

Are you familiar with the author Anne Lamott? If not, I think you should read one or all of her books. She writes about faith from someone from the perspective of one who has hit rock bottom, found God, and remembers what rock bottom feels like. While she does talk politics and religion it is not in any preachy way – in fact I think when she talks politics she is preachier than when she talks religion. (Oh and if you find 4 letter words offensive, she may not be exactly for you.) But she has some great quotes. She talks about the negative tapes that play in our heads and bring us down. Those self-doubt tapes we plat that keep us feeling bad about ourselves. She is very open about the tapes that play in her head and that is part of her charm.

“I thought such awful thoughts that I cannot even say them out loud because they would make Jesus want to drink gin straight out the cat dish.”

- Anne Lamott

When a person has diabetes, it is easy to be hard on yourself. You have a meter that will pass judgement on you several times a day. You will go to the doctor and have you A1C checked and your weight. I don’t think anyone looks forward to going to the doctor but that A1C is a killer. 

And here is the thing – it is not completely your fault. Okay if you drank a liter of pop then perhaps you do bear the responsibility but there are times that you didn’t do anything that you thought was wrong but still the results aren’t what you think they should be.

Let’s just say it – this disease stinks.

But when you have diabetes, you need to practice some positive thinking along with all this checking. You need to remember that you are human and that you will do better the next time. Maybe it is just me but sometimes I can get a bit stuck on all the things I have done wrong and forget that I am not a horrible person. Flawed but not horrible. So when you are feeling down, you might want to have something to fall back on that will remind you that you are a good person. (I sort of remind myself of that Saturday Night Live skit with Al Franken when I say this but I mean it.) 

So the next time that you are listening to a voice in your head that tells you that you are not good enough, just remember –

“Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.”

                                                                                                                             Anne Lamott

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Are you a food cheater?

What? A foot cheater?  Yes, I bet you know what I am talking about.  When you are alone, do you eat things that you don't eat in front of your partner or anyone else?

Still don't get it?  Let me give you some examples.  The company Silent Sam'worked for closed in December.  He was home for awhile looking for a new job.  During that time, we were together for three meals a day.  Funny when we were both there, we behaved pretty well.  When Silent Sam came home from his first day on his new job, he told me he wasn't that hungry because he had a big lunch (french fries, and fried chicken).  Then on Wednesday, I was out and stopped and picked up an ice cream bar.  While I didn't really not tell Silent Sam, I didn't exactly shout it from the mountain top.  (Okay, he will find out when he reads this.)

We have some friends that the husband (who has diabetes) was home for several months due to a knee replacement and some complications.  He lost a a lot of weight during his recovery.  Why? Well, it seems that he had a habit of having perhaps a few things he shouldn't eat for breakfast each day.  Somehow now that he is back on his feet, he has gained back some of the weight.

I think we all do it.  We all have to break loose and have something we shouldn't every once in a while.  It can happen because it is a bad day or because it is a good day.  The important thing is that it isn't EVERY DAY.

If you lived your life and thought that you could never eat (fill in the blank) again then you would just crave it all the more.  But if you decide that once a year you can cave in and have whatever your foot soft spot is then you might not feel so obsessed by it.  You may even find that when you do have it, it isn't as good at you thought it was.

I have found that with ordering out.  We used to order out food a lot.  Then when Silent Sam was diagnosed, we cut back.  Then when he lost his job, we pretty much eliminated.  When we rarely did order out, I was looking forward to it so much.  Funny, it wasn't that good.  Now that is disappointing!  But it was also a lesson.  I had built it up so much in my mind that I was not thinking about the taste of the food - just the pleasure in ordering out.

So, what food makes you a food cheater?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Dogs and Diabetes

I don't know if you know but it is really
 hard to photograph a black dog. 
Silent Sam and I recently adopted a rescue dog from the Chicagoland Lab Rescue organization. Sadie is about two years old and is afraid of everything. There is some part of her that is a Lab but we are not sure exactly what part. She is better than she was when she got here but she obviously will need a lot of love and consistency to bring out all her good qualities.

When we have adopted dogs in the past, we have also had children in the house so the new dog never got as much attention as Sadie has had. It could be said that she is a bit spoiled. Not terribly but we have never allowed a dog to sleep in our room before and somehow Sadie has a bed on the floor in our room.

When I sat down to write this post today, I was thinking about Sadie and I wondered about dogs and diabetes. I remembered that there are dogs trained to help people with diabetes. In looking up information about it, it seems that some dogs can just naturally smell the chemical changes in a person with diabetes and can alert them to either highs or lows. There is an organization named Dogs for Diabetics trains dogs and handlers to work together so that the handler is warned about  diabetic highs and lows.

From the web site, the mission of Dogs for Diabetics is: 

“Provide quality medical alert assistance dogs to insulin-dependent diabetics through programs of training, placement, and follow-up services; and to,
Develop, promote and advocate standards of quality, performance, support and disclosure for all medical assistance dog teams.
Our Vision includes the enhancement of our own work through evaluating, researching, and monitoring our dogs and clients to continuously improve our processes and the outcomes for our clients. We also hope that by advocating high standards for all medical assistance dog providers, medical assistance dogs will become more accepted, respected and available around the world.”

There are many stories of how much the dogs have given handlers back their life. It gives them the chance to get back out doing things without worrying as much about their diabetes. If you know someone whose world is growing smaller because of their diabetes, this organization might be able to help. There was even a story about a dog diagnosing another person in the handler’s office. The woman told the handler that the dog kept pawing at her knee. The handler checked the woman’s glucose level and it was high. The woman went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

Dogs truly can be man’s best friend.

Thanks for reading!

(Okay, I will also do a commercial here for adopting a rescue dog.  There are so many dogs that could use a good home and they will be great companions. If you are going to get a dog, please consider a rescue.)   

Thursday, August 6, 2015

10 Worst Diet Choices

You may find this hard to believe but I do not always have a lot to say. There are times I can be quiet. And there are times the I wonder what I have to tell you on this blog.

Yes, you guessed it. Today is one of those days. To try and trigger a thought, I went on a quick google tour of the internet.

And I found a really interesting article.

Now, I could re-phrase the article and re-work it and make it mine but I don't think I will do that.  I am instead going to send you to read that article. (I know, I'm lazy so you have to click and read on another page. Is that what you get for loyalty?)

The article is on 10 foods you should avoid if you have diabetes. This is usually not my kind of article. Let's all say it in unison - "You can eat anything in moderation!" And that is true but there are some things that just really can't be redeemed. Come on you can't be surprised that sweetened drinks are at the top of the list. The list just pretty much makes sense but it is a good refresher none the less.

Top 10 Worst Diet Choices if You Have Diabetes

Even though the title doesn't say it, there is also a list of 5 of the best foods. At least they give you foods to eat when telling you what not to eat.  

And it you want a real laugh, look at the list to the left of the article on "Most Popular Posts" and check out the article on What the Color of Your Urine Says About You.  I particularly like what it says about having purple urine.  

(Made you look, ha ha!)  

Have a great week!  

Thanks for reading!  

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Going Back in Time - the Bread Maker

When we were cleaning out our house recently, we found our bread maker. Okay, if you had asked me, I thought that we had given it away years ago. Silent Sam and one of his friends always referred to it as "the plant stand" because they never saw bread come out of it.

I hate to admit that they were right but they were. I know that I bought mixes at the grocery store and made bread a few times. It was not enough to justify the expense. So, I was surprised to see it still in the basement. Surprised but I still did not get rid of it. Somehow it made it through that round of purging.

Several weeks later, I noticed that Silent Sam was throwing away a loaf of bread that we had bought at the grocery store. We don't buy bread often. We both like bread but feel that we should be more careful and so we rarely buy it. This past winter when we were having our "Sunday night soup nights", we would buy one loaf to go with the soup. We would then have it for several nights with dinner. It seems we did not have the meals with bread as planned and the bread went bad before we could eat it. That is when I had an idea.

What about making the bread in the bread machine?

Okay, now some of you could be laughing at me but I didn't know if they still sold the mix in the grocery store. I was talking to a friend and asked her if she knew. (She had gotten rid of her "plant stand".) She then told me that she had never used a mix that she used the recipes in the book that came with the bread maker. This led to a new issue - did we have the book? Silent Sam found the book in his stash of instruction books.

I also looked on Pinterest for recipes and found quite a few. Okay, I found the knockoff recipe for Starbucks lemon pound cake first. Amazing what will draw our attention, huh?  But there were many recipes available. (You are welcome to check my Pinterest board.)  

Since it was sitting there, I decided to look at the instruction book for the bread maker. It seems that the bread maker that I owned can make different size loaves. This was great. It meant that I could make a 1 lb. loaf that would be for just the two of us. No, we didn't eat it all at one sitting...

I have now made bread several times. (Probably tying the number of times I had made it in the past.) The results have been good. In fact, I made the Garlic-Herb bread last week. We agreed that we will only make that occasionally because IT WAS REALLY GOOD. It did last several days but I was careful wrapping it up. I wrapped it in saran wrap and put it in a container. In case you don't know, without any preservatives, the bread does not last long. It dries out quickly and gets stale.

In checking the recipe, it looks like one serving of the bread is about 34.5 carbohydrates. Depending upon the rest of the meal, that is not bad. And it is very tasty.

If you have a "plant stand" hidden away in your house, you might want to bring it back out and check out some recipes.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How Big is Your Plate?

You've seen this before - it is THE 9 inch plate
I was flipping through Weight Watchers magazine the other day. In the "Full Plate - news you can use" section, they had the following:
"92% is how much food the average adult eats from his or her plate during a meal, according to a new Cornell University study.   In other words, if you plate it, you'll eat it.  So whatever you plate, make it great." 
My first reaction was that adults only ate 92% of what was on their plate?  That would imply that the "clean plate club" concept has gone the way of the dinosaur.  I am surprised about that and also that 8 percent of the food is in the garbage.  Okay, I suppose people may save it for leftovers.  
The new standard in American plates, the 12 inch or larger plate, holds a lot of food.  It is amazing how much the size of the dinner plate has grown over the last 65 years.  Back in  1960, the standard dinner plate was 9 inches.  That growth allows for a lot more real estate to fill on a plate at a meal.  You would almost hope that we weren't filling a 12 inch plate and eating every bit of it.  But most are filling and eating.  (I am sure I would do the same.) 

The yellow plate is a 9 inch plate.  The other plate is 13 inches.
When Silent Sam was first diagnosed, there was a lot of information thrown at us.  The suggestion to switch to a 9 inch plate was one of the only suggestions I remembered.  Everything seemed so complicated.  Besides, I might have a bit of a shopping bug and it seemed like a mandate to buy new plates. 
We have used 9 inch plates for years now and I don't think anything about it now.  There is plenty of food on a 9 inch plate. The switch to a 9 inch plate is not a magic pill.  It did not stop us from overeating.  I wish just switching to a smaller plate had done that.  But I am sure it has helped.  

What is your favorite movie snack?

The magazine also reported on another study from Cornell.  In this study they looked a people's eating while they watched movies.  They found that people watching comedies ate less than people watching heavier themed movies.  Sad movies also cause more eating.  So the healthy snack you pick when watching a move should depend on the type of movie.  The heavier the movie the lighter the snack. 
Have a great week.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Do You Wear a Medic Alert?

If you have diabetes, you should wear a medic alert band or a neck chain. I know that many of you are resistant to wearing a medic alert.  It is really in your best interest in case you have a problem. 
There are so many styles available these days that you can almost look at it as a piece of jewelry rather than a medical band. If you are still not wearing one, why don’t you check out some of these sites to see if you can find a piece that you like.

The Medic Alert Foundation

Hope Paige Medical ID Marketplace

Lauren’s Hope Medical ID Jewelry

The American Diabetes Association

medic alert neck chain
This medic alert neck chain is from the American Diabetes Association

In this month’s Diabetes Forecast magazine there is a pull out section that has wallet cards and a card for you to keep in your car (or on your person) that explains about diabetes in case you have a problem when you are driving or out and about.  Okay, so easily the problem is that if you have an issue, the person trying to help you has to read the card.  Not everyone wants to stop and read the card when the person in front of them is having a problem. But, I suppose it it better than nothing. 

If you would like to print a copy of the card for yourself, it is available on line.  It is a two sided card. 

This is what the medic alert wallet card looks like

The other side of the card.

I really urge you to consider wearing a medic alert in some form.  It is in your best interest.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

 It seems that while I think of the song "Anatevka" with the phrase 
"a little bit of this and a little bit of that" 
there is a rap song with that as a title.  
I stuck with what I knew.

Looking for interesting information for myself and for the blog this week, I turned to Diabetes Forecast Magazine from the American Diabetes Association.  If you have diabetes or care for someone with diabetes, this magazine has interesting articles.  If you are interested in subscribing, the price is $10 for a two year subscription (12 issues).

Injections vs. laser treatments

But I do have a problem with one part of it.  At the beginning of the magazine there is a section called “Discovery”.  This section has many interesting short articles about “research and news in brief.”  While the articles are usually really interesting and informative, the sample sizes for the information are usually smaller than you would expect.  For example, this month there is an article on “Eyeing a Treatment” where they talk about a study that was done to test the effectiveness of injections rather than laser treatment for macular edema.  In the study they tested three different injectable medicines to see how effective they were.*  This is very interesting and great information until you realize it was only tested on 660 people.  That seems like a pretty small sample size. 

Father-daughter joggers on Morro Strand State Beach, Morro Bay, CA 30 June 2008
A walk on the beach before or after dinner?

Or the really interesting short article about a study about whether it is better to eat and then exercise or exercise and then eat.  The conclusion was that it was by far better to eat and then exercise for 45 minutes. Participants had a 30 percent lower blood glucose level reading compared to a 18 percent lower reading when exercise was before the meal.  Also they found that the after meal workout reduced triglycerides while the before meal exercise did not.  Great news!  The sample size on this study was 13 obese men. 

I suppose the take away from these very short articles is that you know these there is research being done to help those with diabetes and that there is some progress.  Even when there are only 13 participants in a study, the indications may be enough to get you to change how you exercise and that may not be a bad thing.  I love reading this section but then are usually thrown off by the small sample sizes.  I should take the attitude that even the limited sample size gives me more information than I had before and I should keep that in mind. 

Thanks for reading!

* The researchers found that if the patient had mild vision loss  (20/40 or better) that the three injections worked equally well.  If the vision loss was 20/50 or worse that the Eyelea injection worked the best.  The treatment regimen was 9 shots over several months.  The cost of the injections varied so it was important to see the effectiveness.  Eyelea is $1950 per injection, Lucentis is $1200 per injection and Avastin is $50 per injection. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 4th of July!

From our family to yours
We wish you a safe and happy 4th of July!

Silent Sam and I will be home for the 4th weekend getting to know our little foster dog, Sadie.  Sadie is the most low key dog you have ever seen - at least right now.  She came to us from Chicagoland Lab Rescue and may have just stolen our hearts already.  She has given her heart to Silent Sam - she follows him at a worshipful distance.  It is so cute.  

We have yet to figure out which part of her could possibly be a lab because she is a little thing. But there is just something about her...

Have a great 4th weekend!  

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Flip Flop Grinch

Are you familiar with the Grinch?  Unlike the Grinch, I am not going to have a change of heart about flip flops.

Flip flops are not shoes and are not good for your feet.  And let me add that they are particularly not good if you have diabetes.  Yes, they are better than bare feet only because they offer a slight protection for the soles of your feet.

5 reasons why you should not wear flip flops

1.  As a person with diabetes, you need to take great care of your feet.  You need to wear shoes or sandals that will protect your feet cuts, scratches, and punctures.  Nails, glass, and other foreign objects can puncture the thin plastic of flip flops and cut your foot.

2.  Everyone's feet need support.  Flip flops do not offer any support to your arches or your plantar fascia.  This makes it much easier to have foot problems.

3.  Flip flops are plastic. Plastic does not absorb the half pint of sweat a day from your feet. That moisture stays caught between your foot and the plastic and causes your skin to break down.  That break down can lead to openings for bacteria to enter and infect the foot.

4.  You do not walk the same when you wear flip flops.  This abnormality in your gait can lead to knee, leg, and hip soreness.

5.  People who wear flip flops have a tendency to injure their ankles by falling more often.  Since the flip flops do not hold or support your foot, it is easier to slip out of the flip flops and fall  Also they often do not have good traction in the rain.  

I know this viewpoint does not make me
 the most popular girl on the playground

Yes, I realize that you may disagree with me but I am pretty stuck on this viewpoint.  I think that people with diabetes need to be so careful with their feet that I don't see that flip flops are worth the risk.

Let me know what you think.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Interview with a Podiatrist - a re-post

This post is a visit to days gone by..  The post was originally posted 5/19/2012.  

I know I have mentioned several times how important foot care is for diabetics.  To further the point, I met and talked to Dr. Tayeb Hussain of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons P.C.  I had the chance to ask him some questions about diabetic foot care.  

Why is foot care so important for diabetics?

There are two main reasons.  The first is that diabetics are very prone to foot complications due to decreased circulation in the feet.  What looks like a simple callus can be the start of a problem.  A callus can lead to an ulcer (infection) which can lead to the loss of the toe, foot, or even leg. 

There are 15 MILLION amputations on diabetic patients A YEAR!

The second main reason is that diabetics can lose sensation in their feet and this loss of sensation makes them at increased risk. For example, a diabetic patient with loss of sensation in their toes can accidentally nick the skin while trimming their nails, not feel it, and that can lead to infection.

Should diabetics have a daily foot care plan?

Yes!  First thing every morning, a diabetic should check their feet with a mirror for sores and signs of infection.  This means thoroughly looking at the whole foot (top, bottom, sides, and between toes) for any indications of a problem.

The foot check should be repeated again at the end of every day.

Is there anything in particular to watch for when checking your feet?

Calluses are a big issue.  If you have calluses, you should use a moisturizer.  Do not try and pare calluses  down yourself.  Because calluses can lead to infection, a diabetic is much better off having the doctor treat the callus than trying any self treatment other than moisturizer.  .

How often should a diabetic patient see the Podiatrist? 

This depends on their age and how stable they are.  A healthy diabetic patient who is under 50 years old should see the podiatrist every six months.  A diabetic patient who is over 50 should have their legs and feet checked every three months.  It the patient is over 65, they should come in every 2-3 months to be checked and also to have their toe nails clipped.

What happens at a visit to the Podiatrist?

The Podiatrist performs a Comprehensive Diabetic Foot Exam (CDFE) which is a non-invasive examination of the feet and legs.  The exam evaluates the condition of the skin and checks the circulation of the leg and foot.  It also looks for neurological changes in the sensations of the foot.

Diabetics are told to exercise - is there an exercise that is better for diabetic's feet? 

 Any exercise that increases the circulation to the feet is good.  Walking is great exercise and is easy to do.  While circulation can be helped, the sensory changes cannot be helped by exercise.  Controlling your blood sugar level is really important for maintaining your health.

Is there anything to be careful of when buying shoes? 

There are two important things about buying shoes.  The first is that the length of the shoes should be longer than the length of the foot.  You should be able to press your thumb in between your toe and the top of the shoe.  The second thing is that the shoe should have extra depth.

In summary, what is the one thing that every diabetic patient should know?

Every diabetic patient should have their feet checked each time they go to the doctor.  This is not something that physicians did on a regular basis in the past.  Increased education both for the doctors and patients has helped with implementation of this necessary exam.  The diabetic patient should take off their shoes and socks and make sure the doctor checks their feet.

Dr. Tayeb Hussain is the founder of Evanston Podiatric Surgeons, P.C. in Evanston, IL.  His web site is  He is licensed for Podiatric Medicine, Illinois and Wisconsin, Board Certified in Podiatric Orthopedics, Board Certified in Primary Podiatric Medicine, a Certified Wound Specialist, a Fellow, American College of Foot and Ankle Orthopedics and Medicine, andCertified in Pulse-Dye Laser and Carbon Dioxide Laser Technique.

Thanks for reading!

Have a great week!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Have you heard of "Give it 100?"

Have you heard about Give it 100? I think that it is incredibly interesting.

The theory is that you pick something that you want to do, learn, or change. After you pick something, you sign up on the web site and each day for 100 days, you practice doing what you want to do and take a 10 second video of yourself doing whatever it is and post it on the Give it 100site 

You don’t have to stop at 100, you can continue as long as you want to keep going. The idea is that you can look back at yourself over the 100 days and see the changes. Some use it to learn something new like dancing or playing the guitar and some use the 100 days to work on losing weight.

What would you use your 100 days for? 

There has to be something that you would want to learn or do that you don’t do it because you don’t know how or you don’t think that you are good enough. Here it your incentive to change that. These days you can get instructions from the internet for just about everything.  So, pick your "thing" and then look for an instructional video online. 

Your video does not have to be public. You can set it so that it is only seen by you. You can also have up to three projects at a time if you have several ideas and can’t decide where to start.

An instructional video on how to transfer a video
 from your iPhone to your desktop computer

Now, don’t tell me that you can’t do it because you don’t have a video camera. I think you do. It is called your phone. Your digital camera will probably even take a short video. Maybe one of the side benefits would be that you learn to take and upload the video to this site. (It would be for me! I know how to take a video but I have never uploaded a video from my phone to a web site.

This is my suggestion for the week. Think out what you would use 100 days for and then check out the site. See if there is anything there that others have done that is interesting to you. Is it time for you to learn to ride a unicycle? I bet someone there has done it. How about juggling? How about decluttering your house? That might be great – you could see the before and after which would be gratifying but also you could see how much you got rid of each day.

How to ride a unicycle

There is the tried and true, weight loss. But why not make it more interesting than just weight loss. How about something like walking for 10,000 steps each day for 100 days and showing your measurements at the start and at the end?  On the days in between, you could take a short video of your walking path. (Vary the path you take to make it more interesting.)   You might just find it the incentive to keep going. Seeing the change over that period of time might just get you over the hump of not wanting to exercise.

Are you ready to try it?  Let me know and I will join you.  I am not sure what I will do but we can have a group!  Support is always good, right?

Thanks for reading!

P. S. By the way, to go back to a post a few weeks ago, we are still avoiding our “c” foods. (candy, crackers, and Coke) We did allow a break on Memorial Day weekend and we ate some of the crackers that were still in the house but after Saturday and Sunday, we stopped again. I still have not had a coke. It has now been 58 days. To be honest at this point it isn’t as bad. I have popcorn as a snack occasionally and we have carrots as a snack. On the sweets front, I have had a few cupcakes.(Mother’s Day and Memorial Day) In what I consider a brilliant move, we have switched to having cupcakes instead of cake.This was Silent Sam's inspired idea. So, overall, there have not been sweets around here. And… (are you ready?) WE HAVE SURVIVED!

I will say that I have found abstinence easier than maintenance with these foods.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

What? Diabetes Blog Week Was LAST Week?

If you follow this blog, you probably noticed that last week was Diabetes Blog Week and perhaps you noticed that I made it through Day 4.

If at first you don't succeed, try try again.
                                                                            Thomas H. Palmer

Wildcard topic

If you could personify your diabetes or that of your loved one, what would it be like?  What would it look like, what would it say, what kind of personality would it have?  Use your imagination and feel free to use images, drawings, words, music, etc. to describe it.

I think of Silent Sam's diabetes as being like Beetlejuice.  Since he has been able to so well so far, we are happy to keep it in our mind and at bay.  But there is the background worry that the self care will falter or his metabolism will change and there will will be ready to taunt us.  That someone will say "diabetes" three times and there it will be to change our lives in a new way.  

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week–Day 4–CH CH CH CHanges

 Day Four Topic
Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?


I would like the BIG change!  I would like for there to be a cure – a way for people not to live with diabetes any longer.  For them to be able to be free from the toll the disease takes on your body. 

In our family, we are dealing with Type 2, I wish there was a way for people with Type 2 diabetes to know that they have the disease so that they take better care of themselves.  You know, something like they break out into bright purple spots when they are not taking care of themselves. Maybe the spots would start slow as a warning and if ignored the color would intensify.  Yep, that is what I would like as a change. 

Do I sound too flippant?  I’m not really.  I think I have said frequently enough that I think one of the problems is that the damage caused is silent. Patients feel fine until something really goes wrong and it goes wrong because they felt fine and didn't acknowledge their disease.
Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Cleaning Out

Day Three Prompt -

Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?  (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)

Gathering the stuff to go

This day’s topic is right up my alley right now. 

We have been cleaning out.  Yes, Silent Sam and I have decided that our little house has too much stuff.  We have lived in this house for 30 years (gulp!) and now it is just the two of us here.  The kids are married and living in their own places.  As small as our house is, we don’t need three floors (including the most dangerous of spaces – the basement) full of stuff. 

I think that a light bulb went on last fall when we were looking at houses.  We were amazed at how much stuff people had in their houses – especially the closets.  The closets were jam packed.  We were feeling pretty smug about it until I really looked at our closets.  While not crammed, there was plenty of stuff in each.  Hmmm.. Maybe we weren’t in such great shape after all…  Then I realized that all the closets in our house were being used and we weren’t using all the bedrooms as bedrooms any longer. 

Do we actually wear all those clothes?

It was time for a change.  Articles on the topic began to catch my attention.  I read in various places that actually cleaning out can help you lose weight.  Yea, sure.  The theory is that if you are not weighted down by all the things in your house that you will concentrate more on your health.  That cleaning out the clutter will help free you to pay more attention to yourself. 

We are deep into our clean out.  We will make our third trip to Half Price Books today to sell off books.  The first trip was just for all the CDs that were sitting not being used.  Then there were 4 boxes of books.  Today there are three more boxes of books.  We have had the Amvets donation truck 4 times so far and they are coming again on Monday.  We feel that we have gone through the house once but know that there are several more rounds to go. The first round – especially in the basement was probably the easiest and produced the most items to get out of the house.  The next round will be harder but every little bit counts.  The mindset is in place. 

This is what it feels like each time the Amvets truck pulls away

It feels GREAT! Do I think that it will help us lose weight?  I am not ready to discount that theory completely.  I think cleaning out brings to your attention all the money you have wasted (or at least it did for me) on things that don’t matter.  Things that you don’t really need.  Distractions. When you get rid of those things and you stop shopping for things you don’t need, you do have time to think about what is really important and what you need and don’t need.  You make space in your head to be more intentional about what you want to do.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Diabetes Blog Week–Sixth Annual

This is the third year that I am participating in the Annual Diabetes Blog Week.  The idea is that many of the bloggers blog each day for a week and we share not only among ourselves but tell you about some other blogs you might want to read. 

Not completely typically, I am behind already.  I was not feeling well yesterday and did not start on time.  So today, I will cover the first two days.  I am usually late at the end – not the beginning!
Each day has a topic and we are all to write on that topic.  If there is a topic that you prefer not to wrote about, there are a couple “wild card” topics. 

While I have found that many of the topics don’t necessarily apply to Silent Sam or our situation, I still think that it is a great unity exercise and I love finding all the other bloggers.  So, off we go…

Monday’s topic -

In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of "I can...”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren't sure you could?  Or what have you done that you've been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?

I would say that in our case, the “I can” was that Silent Sam decided that he could start exercising and eating right and reduce the medicines that he was taking when he was diagnosed.  In case you never read the beginning of this process for us, Silent Sam was diagnosed when he was in the hospital for a different issue and he went from nothing to shots and pills.  He was able to work hard and reduce his use of medicine.  I am very proud of all the hard work he put in. 

You know, if you follow this blog that there have been some missteps along the way and we have had to kick start the process a few times.  We are currently back in the kick start phase again.  We are doing well – Silent Sam always does better than I do – but we are both working on diet and exercise. 
But to those of you wondering if you can work your way off the medicine or reduce the amount that you need to take, I will tell you that you really might be able to do it.  The rewards are well worth the effort. 

Tuesday’s topic

Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  (This is not an attempt to get you out of your comfort zone.  There is no need to elaborate or tell personal stories related to these aspects.  Simply let us know what kinds of stories we will never hear you tell, and why you won't tell them.)

This is hard because I think that I share most of what happens around here.  I do try not to concentrate on or write about the long term affects of diabetes.  I think that they are so scary that I just try and concentrate on trying to work with Silent Sam to keep his levels in a good place.  

Because really, not taking care of your diabetes is a path that leads to major problems.  The loss of body parts is bad but the loss of your mind is even more serious.  I know that diabetes is a hard disease to come to grips with because you don’t necessarily know there is any thing wrong with you.  They call high blood pressure the silent killer but I think the same can be said for diabetes.

I think that when I find something truly scary, I don’t want to talk about it.  I certainly don’t talk to friends and family about the long term issues of diabetes.  It is almost like tempting fate.  I keep that as the stone in my pocket that I occasionally peek and then hide it away again.  

I will try to keep on top of my daily posts for the rest of the week now!

Thanks for reading!